Anyone who knows me well will know that I am not a fannish type of person and I'm very unlikely to squee no matter who I meet. I don't care very much for celebs who have made their career on being in programmes such as Big Brother for example. What I do admire, however, is real talent and people who've worked for their status. I have favourite artists such as Anne Sudworth, Vincent Chong, Russell Morgan, and of course Rick Fairlamb who did such a wonderful job on my new vampire gene book covers. I naturally admire good writing. Among my favourite authors are Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Sheridan Le Fanu, Tanith Lee, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Kelley Armstrong, John Ajvide Lindqvist and Graham Masterton.
Yesterday I was signing at Arndale Centre Waterstones in Manchester with David J Howe promoting our latest books when I had an interesting encounter. Okay I had been told that Noel Fielding star and creator of The Mighty Boosh would also be there but I didn't expect quite the crowd that turned out. His talent is undeniable and he is enjoying the fruits of his labour for his surrealist comedy and art.
I caught my first glimpse of Noel when he came down from the Green Room around 12 noon and immediately went out into the crowd of adoring fans (400 or more) and greeted them with a very friendly and approachable manner. There was much screaming and excitement that rippled through the crowd and this was totally infectious. Then Noel went into the window of Waterstones and proceeded to do an art demonstration by painting a picture directly on the window. Inside and outside there were crowds of teenagers screaming and cheering - and what a lovely bunch they were too!
I couldn't see very much at that stage because I was in the middle of the store at my table and David and I were technically working. But I did go over and introduce myself and Noel immediately shook my hand and kissed me on the cheek. Which was nice!
After the demonstration, Noel went back upstairs and I managed to catch a few moments with him. It was there that I learnt he also had the lovely Dave Brown with him who also works on The Mighty Boosh and is a photographer, choreographer and comedian in his own right. I was a bit of twit yesterday because I didn't get a pic of Dave but used his fabulous photographic skills to take the pics of me with Noel on my camera. But in defense of myself I was a little flustered as I felt really cheeky going to ask them to sign the book during their short break. I'd obviously sneaked off to the green room to say hello and I really wasn't sure how I would be greeted. I needn't have worried of course as they both welcomed me with loads of hugs and kisses as well!
Okay exaggeration - 2 from Dave - 6 from Noel. Maybe it was me who was doing most of the hugging too!
As the afternoon progressed Noel and Dave began signing their new book which is called The Scribblings of a Madcap Shambleton. You can buy a copy HERE. It's a beautiful book with a padded cover, full colour prints of art work and photographs and of course - scribblings done by Noel - designed and most of the photography by Dave. Currently Waterstones are selling it with a £4 discount - you would normally pay £19.99 for it and it is worth it too! Noel and Dave's fans were queueing for autographs for hours and were incredibly upbeat and fun to be around. I was talking to a lovely group of girls as they waited and even spotted people I knew among the crowd. Each fan was given autographs and photo opportunities and lots of time as Noel and Dave patiently greeted them.
As I said earlier - I'm not easily impressed by 'celebrity' but what I am impressed with is talented celebs who understand the nature of fandom and treat their fans with respect and kindness. This is what I saw yesterday - and a whole lot of fun was involved in it all too. Noel and Dave enjoyed talking to people.
As I was leaving I went over to say goodbye to them. Noel was talking on a fan's phone to yet another fan - brownie points again I'd say! I said goodbye, Noel had requested a copy of Zombies and I arranged for one each for him and Dave to be left for them in the Green Room. (Hope they like it!)
Once again I got another kiss and hug from them both. When I turned, some of the lovely girls I'd been talking too were waving to me from the crowd. (Now wishing I'd asked their names - but hopefully I'll see them again).
I came away very happy yesterday. We'd had a brilliant selling day and we'd met some really nice people - everyone was lovely.
Noel and Dave I salute you. You are talented, fun, and most of all you appreciate the fans that made it possible for you to be where you are today. I don't think you'll ever be spoilt by showbiz. You both seem to have your feet firmly on the ground. Well done guys. Great meeting you and I hope we do meet again.